In Defense of Beautiful Convention Models…

This is in response to Brad McCarty’s Next Web article, Tech and Titillation: Why its time to stop the booth babes and muscle men.


I’m a big fan of Brad McCarty and The Next Web. Mr. McCarty is nothing if not a straight shooter. But I also support my wife as a body painter. A large part of her business is painting companies’ logos, designs or colors on beautiful models to catch the eyes of conventioneers here in Las Vegas. So it may be bais on my part to argue certain parts of Mr. McCarty’s points, but I do feel his article is a miss.

I totally agree that at some point we should stop cooing over the accomplishments of certain individuals based on their accomplishments AND their race/gender/age/etc. But then his post devolves into the harumphs of a grumpy grandpa.

Just because Mr. McCarty can’t be bothered to be bombarded with attractive men and women hawking the products or innovations he’s interested in, it doesn’t really mean the human race is facing a serious sexism problem that we all need to turn inward to recognize.

There’s nothing sexist about beauty, form, strength, attractiveness, and YES personality. All of these qualifiers can be used to describe technological gadgets, software, microwaves, etc. (Okay, maybe microwaves having a personality is a stretch, but at least I admit it’s a stretch, and you see what I mean anyway.) It’s advertising, it’s marketing, and it actually CAN serve a purpose. It’s like saying one should stop using the color red in your posters because it draws the eye, or “Stop using cursive script in your logo! We get it! You’re elegant!” Should we just wander around convention centers surrounded by posters with plain, black, block letters saying, “iPad Covers Here”?

Lighten up! Have a little fun! Sure, some of the more obnoxious gimmicks are perhaps better left ignored, but one can still scrutinize the merits of the products on display. And isn’t it part of the point of SXSW to let loose a little?

Beautiful men and women being “used” to capture the attention of passersby IS an age-old tried-and-true method. But that doesn’t necessarily equate it with sex or sexism. And to imply that it’s as bad as genocide and indentured servitude is WAY over the top. I was half expecting a Goebbels reference thrown in here! These models get paid, ya know? They use that money to pay their bills, their tuition, and have meals.

Perhaps it is Mr. McCarty that should stop objectifying and looking at these models as pieces of meat.